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Research Data Management

Information and guidance for researchers about managing data and writing data management plans.

Why Share Data?

  • For the greater good:  Publicly-funded research should be openly accessible.  Sharing of data enables the replication necessary for the scientific method of investigation.


  • It benefits you:  Significant increase in article citations may result.  Per Piwowar, et al., publicly available data was significantly association with an almost 70% increase in citations.


  • It is becoming the norm:  Several major journal publishers expect that data be shared (see data availability policies for Nature and PLOS One).

Adapted from the Emory University Libraries web site:

Data Citation

The APA style blog provides examples of proper data citation.

See also the Purdue OWL for examples of APA style citation of data sets, graphic data, and qualitative data.

Michigan State University's How to Cite Data LibGuide establishes general rules and examples in APA, MLA, and Chicago styles.

Data Licensing

The Open Knowledge Foundation encourages the licensing of data:   "In most jurisdictions there are intellectual property rights in data that prevent third-parties from using, reusing and redistributing data without explicit permission. Even in places where the existence of rights is uncertain, it is important to apply a license simply for the sake of clarity. Thus, if you are planning to make your data available you should put a license on it – and if you want your data to be open this is even more important."


Lehigh University has compiled a chart outlining data licensing options.

Concerns about Sharing Data?

Not all data can or should be shared


  • Legally protected data have restrictions placed on them by law. Examples include educational records data protected by the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and medical and healthcare data protected by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).  Disclosure of sensitive data could harm reputations and/or violate privacy.


Some data must not be shared or must be de-identified because it could potentially:


  • Directly identify an individual (e.g., name, address, social security number, telephone number)


  • Indirectly identify an individual (e.g., zip code, birthdate, education, and race/ethnicity) by being used in combination, or be linked to outside information (from sources such as social media, administrative data, or other public datasets)


Before sharing data about human subjects publicly:


  • Consult the agreement made with participants in your Institutional Review Board (IRB) plan


  • De-identify the data

Adapted from the University of Minnesota Libraries web site: